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High Turnover in Family Law Practices

Updated: Apr 12

I worked at a family law firm with seven attorneys and two Senior Partners. Five attorneys left the firm within four months. All were good attorneys. Most businesses would see this as a crisis. I get the feeling this is not uncommon for family law firms.

The main problem is the work environment. The short version is that the practice of billing using billable hours destroys any enjoyment one might have practicing law. (I have a page on the billable hour). Your main goal is not to help people. It is to bill people. Winning and losing cases is not as important as billing clients.

Senior partners obsess over billable hours. They check your hours every day. They do not obsess over training people to be better attorneys or providing an enjoyable work environment. You produce or you are fired. You have constant pressure to bill your clients. These are people you like but if you don't overcharge them you may be fired.

The job was made more difficult because their were not enough clients and not enough work. If you just did all the work assigned to you, you would not have enough hours. You often have to overbill if you want to get the required hours.

You should never put employees under this kind of unnecessary stress. It doesn't help anyone - the firm, the attorney, or the client. But this is the situation at firms that depend on a system of billable hours.

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